You can file for divorce in Georgia as long as you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least six months. If not, you can also file in Georgia if Georgia was the last place you lived while you were married. Before a court can grant your divorce, you must submit some basic paperwork and wait for a period of time.
Georgia law offers 13 reasons, or grounds, for which a court can grant your divorce. Georgia’s no-fault grounds is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which does not require you to prove that your spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, you must simply show that you refuse to live with your spouse and there is no hope of reconciliation. If you choose to file on fault-based grounds instead, such as adultery or desertion, you must prove to the court that the grounds you allege exist.
Your divorce begins when you file a complaint for divorce, including a filing fee, in the superior court for the appropriate county. Typically, you must file in the county where your spouse lives or, if he recently moved, in the county where you live. Your complaint must contain basic information about the marriage such as your current living arrangement, the grounds on which you are seeking divorce, the names and dates of birth of your children, and your assets and debts. To complete your divorce, you may have to file additional paperwork, such as a verification form, acknowledgment of service, consent to trial, vital records report, domestic case initiation form and domestic case disposition form.
Georgia requires all divorcing parents to attend a parenting class before the court will grant a divorce. Additionally, parents must file proposed parenting plans. Your parenting plan must include certain acknowledgments from each parent, along with your plan for when your child will be in each parent’s care, which holidays he will spend with each of you and how he will be transported between you. The court will also determine a child support amount, based on your income and that of your spouse, and according to Georgia’s child support guidelines.
Getting Your Divorce Decree
Georgia has a 31-day waiting period for divorce once you have served your spouse with the divorce paperwork. This waiting period cannot be waived, but if your divorce contains any contested matters, it is unlikely your divorce can be finalized by the time this waiting period is complete. Uncontested divorces typically do not require a hearing, but if you and your spouse cannot settle all issues on your own, the court will decide those remaining issues for you at a trial. At trial, the judge or jury will resolve all of your contested issues, and the court can then issue your divorce decree.